The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Captain Nikolai Ilyich Snegiryov Character Analysis

The old captain and father of two daughters, Varvara Nikolaevna and Nina Nikolaevna, and one son, Ilyusha. The captain is married to a “half-witted” woman named Arina Petrovna. Katerina Ivanovna sends Alexei to the captain, who lives near Dmitri, to give the old man two hundred roubles as compensation for Dmitri beating him up outside of a tavern in revenge for his participation in Fyodor Pavlovich’s scheme to convince Grushenka to take over Dmitri’s promissory notes. The captain refuses to challenge Dmitri to a duel, out of fear that, if he is killed, there will be no one to look after his family. The captain makes a show of rejecting Katerina Ivanovna’s money by throwing it down on the street and stomping on it; however, he ends up accepting the money, and later accepts her friendship and financial assistance when Ilyusha falls ill.

Captain Nikolai Ilyich Snegiryov Quotes in The Brothers Karamazov

The The Brothers Karamazov quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Nikolai Ilyich Snegiryov or refer to Captain Nikolai Ilyich Snegiryov. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of The Brothers Karamazov published in 1990.
Epilogue, Chapter 3 Quotes

“He was a nice boy, a kind and brave boy, he felt honor and his father’s bitter offense made him rise up. And so, first of all, let us remember him, gentlemen, all our lives. And even though we may be involved with the most important affairs, achieve distinction or fall into some great misfortune—all the same, let us never forget how good we once felt here, all together, united by such good and kind feelings […] You must know that there is nothing higher, or stronger, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the parental home [….] If a man stores up many such memories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life.”

Page Number: 774
Explanation and Analysis:
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Captain Nikolai Ilyich Snegiryov Character Timeline in The Brothers Karamazov

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Nikolai Ilyich Snegiryov appears in The Brothers Karamazov. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Book 2, Chapter 6: Why Is Such a Man Alive!
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...always borrowing money from Fyodor. Fyodor also talks about how Dmitri seized “a retired captain” (Snegiryov) by the beard, dragged him out in the street in front of the tavern, and... (full context)
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Dmitri acknowledges that he behaved badly with Captain Snegiryov, but it was because the captain went to Grushenka and encouraged her to take over... (full context)
Part 1: Book 3, Chapter 5: The Confession of an Ardent Heart. “Heels Up”
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
...an honest man. However, he found out about her getting the promissory note from Captain Snegiryov, so he set out to give her a beating. Dmitri knows about how money-hungry Grushenka... (full context)
Part 2: Book 4, Chapter 5: Strain in the Drawing Room
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...approaches Alexei with two hundred roubles and asks him to go to a captain named Snegiryov, who Dmitri beat up outside of a tavern, and give him the money. She says... (full context)
Part 2: Book 4, Chapter 6: Strain in the Cottage
Suffering Theme Icon
...lopsided little house” with only three windows facing the street and a filthy courtyard. Captain Snegiryov lives in “a peasant cottage.” When Alexei knocks, someone shouts in a “forcedly angry voice.”... (full context)
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
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Captain Snegiryov is about forty-five and “weakly built” with reddish hair and a thin red beard. This... (full context)
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
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Captain Snegiryov mocks Alexei’s assumption that he’d whip his son in front of him and then offers,... (full context)
Part 2: Book 4, Chapter 7: And in the Fresh Air
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Captain Snegiryov invites Alexei to walk with him in the fresh air because his “castle” isn’t clean,... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Captain Snegiryov says that he won’t challenge Dmitri to a duel because, if he’s killed, there would... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Ilyusha but announces that he’s come to the house “with an errand.” Alexei tells Captain Snegiryov how Dmitri’s fiancée, Katerina Ivanovna, heard about the incident outside of the tavern and asked... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Alexei is glad to see that he’s caused such happiness for Captain Snegiryov. The captain says that, if he could pay off “one miserable debt,” he’d buy a... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Suddenly, Captain Snegiryov starts moving his lips, saying something but emitting no sound. Then, the captain offers to... (full context)
Part 2: Book 5, Chapter 1: A Betrothal
Suffering Theme Icon
...embarrassed and blushes. She asks about Alexei’s errand to give two hundred roubles to Captain Snegiryov. Alexei tells her the story, recreating “the scene of the wretched man trampling on the... (full context)
Part 4: Book 10, Chapter 3: A Schoolboy
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
...However, this one turns out to be intelligent. When the boys get close to Captain Snegiryov’s house, Kolya stops and asks Smurov to have Alexei Karamazov meet him outside. Smurov questions... (full context)
Part 4: Book 10, Chapter 5: At Ilyusha’s Bedside
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The room in which Captain Snegiryov’s family lives is crowded with visitors. Ilyusha even sees his former enemies in the room,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Arina Petrovna, Ilyusha’s mother, reaches out for it. Captain Snegiryov assures her that Ilyusha will let her play with it, and that the cannon will... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...wrong place. The crowd and the poverty of the room confuse him. He addresses Captain Snegiryov and confirms his identity. The doctor looks around “squeamishly” and takes off his fur coat.... (full context)
Part 4: Book 10, Chapter 7: Ilyusha
Morality and Modernization Theme Icon
...still has the “squeamish” look, as though he’s afraid of dirtying himself on something. Captain Snegiryov runs after him, bowing low. The doctor suggests that he take Ilyusha to Syracuse, due... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Captain Snegiryov goes back to Ilyusha and begins to cry. Ilyusha comforts him, saying how sorry he... (full context)
Part 4: Book 12, Chapter 2: Dangerous Witnesses
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
...Dmitri’s deeds at the Metropolis tavern and tells the story about him beating up Captain Snegiryov. Rakitin portrays Dmitri as “gloomy and fatal,” winning over the audience with his eloquence. He... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Captain Snegiryov testifies next, looking “all tattered” and dirty. When he’s asked about Dmitri’s brutality toward him,... (full context)
Epilogue, Chapter 3: Ilyushechka’s Funeral. The Speech at the Stone
Suffering Theme Icon
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...close to the coffin, against which she leans her head, as though she’s weeping. Captain Snegiryov looks “animated” and “bewildered.” He says that he doesn’t want his son buried in the... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
...three hundred steps to the church. The day is clear and a bit frosty. Captain Snegiryov worries that he forgot the crust of bread for the funeral, but the boys remind... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
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The party arrives at the church and sets the coffin down. During the liturgy, Captain Snegiryov seems calmer. When the funeral service begins, though, he sobs, and when it’s time to... (full context)